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Indoor Air Pollution: Look at the Causes and Solutions

by: Kim Evans

(NaturalNews) According to the EPA, air pollution indoors is often two to five times worse than it is outside. In extreme cases, air pollution inside can be a hundred times worse than outside. The reason is partly because numerous chemicals, like cleaning supplies, hair sprays and perfumes, are used inside the home. Another part of the problem is that many items inside our homes and materials used in home construction are notorious for letting off poisonous gasses – for years. Carpets, shower curtains, paints, upholstery, plywood, particle board, cabinets, computers, and synthetic materials all let off poisonous gasses and chemicals. Because most homes are well insulated, it leaves those poisons trapped inside for us to breathe.

However, there's a solution and as with most problems, the solution comes from nature – and not from a chemical company. NASA studies show that having ample plants indoors can detoxify up to 85 percent of indoor air pollution.

Acting like a filter for the air, some plants mop up formaldehyde. Others remove benzene, carbon monoxide, and trichloroethylene. Unfortunately, all of these chemicals are common in the air of most homes. If you're wondering how the air inside your home became quite so toxic, have a look at some sources of common chemicals.

Indoor Air Pollution: Common Culprits
Formaldehyde is used in plywood, particle board and glues; it's found in most cabinets, carpets and walls. Formaldehyde is regularly brought into homes in grocery bags; it's even in some tissues and paper towels. Formaldehyde is also released in cigarette smoke and from fuel burning appliances. In the garage and into homes with attached garages, formaldehyde is released from tailpipe emissions. Formaldehyde is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a human carcinogen, meaning that it causes cancer.

Benzene is a petrochemical; it's used in detergents, latex paints, oils, foams, dyes and rubber. It's common in building materials, exhaust fumes, and especially in cigarette smoke. Benzene is even found in some pharmaceuticals and it's known to induce leukemia.

Trichloroethylene is found in paints, lacquers, carpet shampoos, spot removers and adhesives. It's also used in dry cleaning, although this is becoming less so. Since trichloroethylene has contaminated some of the water supply, it can also enter the air of your home from shower vapors. Trichloroethylene is a central nervous system depressant.

Carbon monoxide is found in homes with gas stoves, and it's regularly found in high concentrations with worn or poorly maintained furnaces. Carbon monoxide also enters homes with attached garages from car exhaust. In high levels, carbon monoxide can cause sudden death.

Indoor Air Pollution: Plants to Remove It
Some of the best plants to remove these dangerous chemicals from the air in your home include:

Palms: especially Areca, Bamboo and Dwarf Date Palms
Ferns: especially the Boston Fern
English Ivy
Peace lily
Mums and daisies: including Gerbera daisies
Spider plants

It's also important to open the windows and doors of your home, daily if possible, to allow fresh air to circulate in. As a bonus, having plants inside adds oxygen to the air you're breathing, and having plants inside is even known to decrease the stress levels of the inhabitants.

In a 1,800 square foot home, 15 to 20 house plants should be used throughout.

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